One of the most encouraging aspects of Dublin’s performance against Kilkenny at the weekend lay in the unquantifiable. To rack up a score of 3-16 is impressive but far more positive was the attitude, the approach, the lack of fear, it was all evident throughout.
The desire it appeared was not to prove anyone wrong - but to simply win the game. In the immediate aftermath of the slender defeat to Kilkenny in the Leinster SHC round robin game manager Pat Gilroy says he could take little solace in running the Cats close.
The All Ireland winner is not in the business of basking in moral victories: “The only thing that was important was to get the win – let’s be honest,” Gilroy told Off The Ball’s Oisin Langan.
“We weren’t coming here to make up the numbers or to get a moral victory. We wanted to win every game to get into a Leinster final. We’re just massively disappointed. This is not about performances – this is about wins. We’ll take the positives out of it for sure and why we didn’t win it, at the end of the day we were here to win the game and we fully expected to.”
The Dubs were quick out of the blocks and reached a level at which they weren’t just competing but looked likely to leave Parnell Park as the winners. The Cats in the end were fortunate to escape with the victory, in turn piling some pressure on Dublin who will probably adopt a must win approach as they gear up to face Wexford this weekend.
The Dubs will be sweating on the fitness of Conal Keaney, a shoulder issue forced the veteran off at Parnell Park. A number of Dubs came of age, Sean Moran was immense and curbed the influence of some of Kilkenny’s most potent threats.
Chris Crummey’s man of the match display showed all the hallmarks of a true leader on the field, little surprise that the Lucan man was chosen to skipper the side this season as he personified the old adage of ‘lead by example’.
Keaney along with Liam Rushe and Cian O'Callaghan deserve honourable mentions for their input. Whether it is a stay of execution in the expected shoot-out with Offaly for survival in the Leinster Championship or a turning point in the hurlers’ fortunes remains to be seen.
One swallow does not a summer make, but the sight of a Dublin team competing against the best will bring encouragement after humiliations at the hands of Galway and Tipperary a year ago.